free Christmas music!

It's November 25 and I'm sure that date is ringing everyone's bells...I know it is mine. I'm decorating my house today...having a good time! Thanksgiving is late this year and anxiety will plague me if the calendar says Nov. 29 or 30 and I haven't started decorating. I always rely on my Crate and Barrel catalog to jumpstart the holiday mood. (The photos in this post are from a special section on their website.)

When I'm in the house alone, I play my Christmas playlists on iTunes and turn up the volume. When Scott comes home, I have to change to regular music because he's an only-in-December-Christmas-music guy.
I have some fun new Christmas tunes thanks to Crate and Barrel. When their "Holiday Inspiration" catalog arrived, I couldn't believe how it was filled with online links to freebies like menus and recipes, tree-decorating tutorials, free e-vites, shared donations, and music. You almost have to have your catalog in one hand and laptop in the other! The link to their free Christmas playlist on iTunes is here or you can go to http://www.crateandbarrel.com/GetTheDownload
Just follow the steps and seven new Christmas tunes will appear in your iTunes library. Pretty cool...thanks Crate and Barrel. There's also a free jazz playlist that's good for when Scott walks in the door.
 While you're visiting the Crate and Barrel website, click here to see their wonderful animated Christmas decorating guide. Just keep scrolling or hitting the arrows for "red and green overload." As you can tell, I like Crate and Barrel's marketing.


BRooKie and Eyes

What a great school assignment! Brookelyn had to spend a day job shadowing and she chose to spend it with her Grandpa Scott. It was a fun day for everyone.
She started out the day by showing that it IS possible to multi-task. No reason to not answer every call...with a phone on each ear. 
  Brookie learned a lot from our receptionist, Sandy, who let her file charts, welcome patients, and accept phone payments.
Maliece is our ophthalmic tech. She taught Brookelyn about the different kinds of equipment for taking care of a variety of eye problems.
 Scott was so thrilled to think that maybe he could influence Brookie to go into medicine or even ophthalmology. They had some good talks about her future. She's a straight A student, so she has lots of potential.
 These are the trial contact lenses. There's lots to learn about different types and prescriptions of lenses. You have to be pretty good at math to figure these out.
Checking to be sure everything is completed before the patient leaves. 
She was pretty quick at figuring out the strange chart filing system.  
And as an extra bonus, she got to have her own eyes examined.  
She can read the smallest line - good news.  
And she won't need to wear glasses because she's 20/15. 
The back of her eye looks good. 
And she has no diseases of the eye. 
Now it's time to try on those glasses she doesn't need. 
The Harry Potter look. 
Last task - cleaning and covering the equipment. Thanks for helping! Grandpa loved it!


Pear & VaniLLa Butter

Sometimes I stumble onto something that makes me want to cook. Believe me, that's an unusual feeling for me. I'm not a girl who reads recipe books for fun or looks forward to stirring a pot of soup in the kitchen. But for some reason, an article in the Wall Street Journal about a California chef (originally from Britain) made me go to the pantry in search of canning jars. The now-famous cook's name is June Taylor, and she started her company by making English-style marmalades for friends in the US. Her business has expanded to include jellies, syrups, sauces, anything fruit based. I'm almost tempted to make her recipe for Pear Vanilla Butter...or order some marmalade from her website. The link to the article is here and the recipe is below.

Pear & Vanilla Butter
This recipe for vanilla-laced pear butter was adapted from one of Ms. Taylor's. It is easy to make at home, but you can also purchase it and other seasonal products at junetaylorjams.com.
Total Time: 1½ hours Makes: 2½ cups
2½ pounds Bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup apple juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tablespoons orange zest
1 cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
1. In a deep, wide pot over low heat, bring pears, juices and zest to a simmer, stirring frequently, until pears are just cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Set pot aside and let fruit cool to room temperature.
2. Pour pears and cooking liquid into a food processor and purée until completely smooth, like applesauce. Mix sugar and scraped vanilla seeds together in a small bowl.
3. Return purée to cleaned pot and stir in vanilla sugar. Set pot over low heat and, while stirring frequently, bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until butter is thick, dark and dense, about 45 minutes.

4. Pour hot pear butter into jars, secure lids and place on a rack to cool. Store in refrigerator and consume within two weeks.


yArd cLeaN-up

Scott has spent some busy Saturdays lately getting the yard and house ready for winter. I helped a little and took the photos. Mostly I fretted about him being on the roof. It's too bad that I dislike his favorite place to hang out. He'll use any excuse - fix the flag, cover the swamp coolers, check the weather vane - to go up on the roof. I've finally convinced him to at least tell me when he's going to climb that ladder so I can make sure he comes back down. He loves the views of the mountains and beautiful valley. 
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